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Links for Monday…
- The Indians are still checking around for a left fielder or center fielder, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets. They'd prefer a right-handed hitter to add balance to their lefty-heavy lineup.
- GM Neal Huntington told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the Pirates haven't thought of sending Pedro Alvarez to Triple-A following his Spring Training struggles. "He's going through a tough stretch right now,” Huntington said. “Are we going to be able to get him out of it? We believe we will."
- Bill Shaikin of the LA Times breaks down the three remaining bidders for the Dodgers and explains that MLB is expected to approve all three this week.
- Teams have asked about Everth Cabrera, but the Padres aren't inclined to trade him, Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets.
The Pirates put a finishing touch on their offseason yesterday, agreeing to terms with Andrew McCutchen on a six year, $51.5MM contract extension. Here's the latest on the Pirates, starting with some reactions to the McCutchen deal…
- Neil Walker told Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Pittsburgh is lucky to have McCutchen under long-term control (all Twitter links). Walker, an extension candidate himself, told Sanserino that he'd also like to sign a long-term deal with the Pirates. So far extension talks haven’t gone very far, according to Walker.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs agrees with Walker, writing that Pirates fans should "dance in the streets" to celebrate the contract that will keep McCutchen in Pittsburgh for his prime.
- Nate McLouth and Charlie Morton were also pleased to see the deal completed, MLB.com's Tom Singer writes.
- Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has the yearly breakdown of McCutchen's contract (Twitter link).
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney told Joe Giardina of Pittsburgh Sports Report that the Pirates are having trouble luring free agents to Pittsburgh. "They seem to be picking from just a different menu than some of the other teams," Olney said.
- Olney added that Pedro Alvarez is the most important player to the 2012 Pirates since he could break out into a star or continue to struggle.
The Rockies pick tenth in next year's draft, a pick that will be protected if they sign a Type A free agent who turned down arbitration this offseason. The latest on the team, from Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post:
- Kevin Kouzmanoff is unlikely to return to the Rockies next year. MLBTR reported yesterday that the team is in the process of outrighting the third baseman. Ian Stewart will get another shot at the third base job if he "makes baseball his first priority from the start of the winter until the end of it," GM Dan O'Dowd told Renck. The Rockies will need to make a decision on Stewart by the December 12th non-tender deadline though. Tendering him a contract probably means paying him around $2.2MM again.
- Opposing executives expect O'Dowd to aggressively pursue Mets third baseman David Wright. Otherwise Renck expects the Rockies to cast a wide net, including the Padres' Chase Headley and the Pirates' Pedro Alvarez but not free agent Aramis Ramirez. I have a hard time imagining the Padres sending Headley to their division rival; the two teams haven't matched up for an offseason trade since the Rockies' inaugural season.
- The Rockies are looking to trade Ty Wigginton even it means eating some of the $4.5MM owed to him.
- Renck reiterates that the Rockies seek an innings eater this offseason.
On this date ten years ago, John Smoltz struck out four batters and picked up his first regular season save. Then, on this date in 2009, the Red Sox released Smoltz, who had an 8.33 ERA at the time. The potential Hall of Famer went on to provide seven solid starts for the Cardinals later that season and hasn't pitched in the Majors since. Here are today's links…
- Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that GM Mike Rizzo did a "fantastic job" to sign Anthony Rendon, Alex Meyer, Brian Goodwin, Matt Purke and others on Monday night. Lerner believes the Nats now have one of the best farm systems in the game.
- Just because the Yankees signed Derek Jeter to a $51MM deal last winter doesn’t mean the Mariners should extend Ichiro Suzuki, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes. Arguing that Ichiro deserves Jeter-like treatment doesn’t make sense to Baker “for reasons that start on the field and end off of it.” The Mariners outfielder is under contract for $17MM in 2012.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com identifies five players we shouldn't give up on, including Pedro Alvarez and Ian Stewart.
- No one at the MLB owners meetings is questioning whether Jim Crane, the incoming Astros owner, is a viable candidate to take over the team, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter).
- Top Royals pick Bubba Starling said at a press conference today that his offense could still improve because he played three sports in high school and hasn't had the chance to devote himself to hitting (Associated Press link via ESPN.com).
Pirates president Frank Coonelly stopped by MLB.com today for his monthly chat with fans. With the Pirates' season over, the questions focused on the team's upcoming winter. Here are the highlights from the chat:
- The Pirates' have the capacity to "meaningfully increase" their payroll for next season, after spending $44MM on their 2010 roster.
- Coonelly shot down rumors suggesting that Andy Van Slyke has interviewed for the Pirates' managerial opening. The club has only interviewed Eric Wedge so far, and is still in the process of compiling a full list of candidates.
- Coonelly didn't rule out some of Pittsburgh's coaches being retained by the new manager, but noted that the on-field staff has been given the freedom to explore other opportunities.
- Despite Pedro Alvarez's occasional struggles at third base (he posted a -8.0 UZR/150 this season), the team has no plans to move him across the diamond to first base.
- While Coonelly praised the organization's minor league starting pitching, he conceded that many of their young arms may not be ready to contribute at the major league level next year. As such, starting pitching will be targeted through free agency or trades.
- The Pirates will use free agency to supplement their core talent; Coonelly says the team intends to "aggressively pursue" players who can fill needs.
9:24pm: Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Alvarez has been officially called up. The prospect got the news after Indianapolis' game on Tuesday night. ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that Alvarez will be in the lineup against Chicago on Wednesday.
6:55pm: Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Pedro Alvarez, the No.2 overall pick in the 2008 Amateur Draft, could make his major league debut for Pittsburgh before the end of the week. Langosch reports that Alvarez is in the lineup tonight for Triple-A Indianapolis, and could be called up as soon as Wednesday for that evening's White Sox/Pirates game. One might think the Bucs might announce Alvarez's first game in advance to sell a few extra tickets either against the Sox or when the Indians come to town for a weekend series.
Alvarez will play every day at third base for the Pirates, thus making current baseman Andy LaRoche into a backup or utilityman; Langosch notes that LaRoche has already been taking grounders at second base in preparation for his new role. With Neil Walker locked into the second base job, LaRoche (who was a well-regarded prospect him not too long ago) could be made available to a team looking for an infield backup. The Bucs would certainly have an easier time moving LaRoche than they would dealing Akinori Iwamura's big contract.
From now on, teams that call prospects up to make their major league debuts no longer have to worry that those players will go to arbitration an extra time. It's now June and prospects that debut from this point on will not pick up more than 124 days of MLB service time this year. There's almost no chance that that would be enough for super two status after 2012. We all know when to expect Stephen Strasburg, but let's take a look around the majors and anticipate the arrivals of some more top prospects:
- Mike Stanton – You thought Jose Bautista had a lot of homers? Stanton hit his 19th and 20th of the season tonight at AA in front of Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest. The 20-year-old Stanton, ranked by Baseball America as the Marlins' best prospect this offseason, entered today's action with 39 walks and 50 strikeouts. Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel says it may not be long before Stanton is playing in the majors.
- Carlos Santana – The 24-year-old catcher began the season as one of the best prospects in baseball and he has lived up to expectations so far in 2010. Santana has hit .315/.450/.565 at Triple A with ten homers and more strikeouts than walks. Lou Marson, who is actually younger than Santana, struggled early on for the Indians, but has impressed Indians manager Manny Acta lately. Still, Marson has a .216/.270/.276 line this season, so Santana appears to have more offensive potential.
- Pedro Alvarez – The Pirates, who have scored the second-fewest runs in the National League, might be tempted by the .261/.349/.511 line Alvarez has posted in Triple A. No Pirate has a slugging percentage as high as the one Alvarez has posted in the minors and just Ryan Doumit and Andrew McCutchen have been getting on base as much.
Stanton, Santana and Alvarez have played well, but they aren't the only ones who could arrive in the majors before long. Desmond Jennings, Jeremy Hellickson, Aroldis Chapman and Brett Wallace could conceivably get the call within a few weeks.
Links for Sunday, as we await tonight's Subway series rubber match….
- The Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay looks at what a trip to the disabled list for Homer Bailey would mean for the Reds' rotation. Bailey left today's game after just 2.1 IP with shoulder soreness. Fay writes that it won't be Aroldis Chapman, who is having his next start pushed back due to a blister.
- Joel Sherman breaks down the tremendous amount of talent in the rookie class of 2010, and wonders if it ranks among the best ever.
- In a separate article, Sherman profiles Mike Pelfrey's success so far in 2010, and relays that the New York right-hander wants manager Jerry Manuel to keep his job.
- Former MLB pitcher Jose Lima has died of a massive heart attack, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes (via Twitter). Our condolences go out to Lima's family and friends.
- Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports lists ten veteran players who he thinks deserve to be traded to another team.
- Pirates fans could see 2008's second overall pick, Pedro Alvarez, arrive in Pittsburgh soon, writes Bob Cohn of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Alvarez is hitting just .243 at Triple-A Indianapolis this season, but he has homered ten times and slugged .497.
- The Chicago Sun Times' Rick Morrissey says that Ryne Sandberg might not be a good fit as the eventual manager of the Cubs, even if fans would love to see it.
- With Rays Senior VP of baseball operations Gerry Hunsicker in Houston this weekend, Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle looks back on Hunsicker's tenure as the Astros' GM.
Links for Saturday…
- Pirates' GM Neal Huntington said that Pedro Alvarez will remain in the minors so he can get more at-bats against lefthanded pitchers, though Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette mentions that it could have to do with pushing his service time clock back.
- ESPN's Keith Law broke down Stephen Strasburg's demotion to the minors, and says that "what he does need to improve is only going to improve in the big leagues."
- Ryan Church spoke to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo about his opportunity with the Pirates, saying that "It's either reestablish yourself and be one of the main guys or just be a fourth outfielder from here on out."
- Rays Executive VP Andrew Friedman says the club will explore internal and external options to replace J.P. Howell, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. Tampa Bay hopes to have the lefty back by May.
- Most players never shed the dreaded "4A" label, but the Pirates' Garrett Jones did, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.
- Tom Tango will be a big part of the Blue Jays' front office, writes Robert Cribb of The Toronto Star.
- Indians closer Kerry Wood could miss up to two months with a strained back muscle. Brady Gardiner of SIRIUS XM tweets that this is a blessing for the Tribe as Wood's option for 2011 likely will not vest. The 32-year-old would make $11MM in '11 with 55 games finished in 2010.
- Dodgers manager Joe Torre has confidence in Ronnie Belliard's ability to play first base, writes Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com. This will likely leave first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz on the outside looking in as he jostles with Garrett Anderson for the club's left-handed pinch hitting spot. However, Belliard still must weigh in at 209 pounds or less at some point during Spring Training to guarantee his deal.
- At the age of 47, Jamie Moyer has no interest in retiring, writes Jayson Stark of ESPN. Moyer is entering the final season of a two-year, $13MM deal.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Cleveland Indians | Doug Mientkiewicz | Garrett Jones | J.P. Howell | Jamie Moyer | Kerry Wood | Los Angeles Dodgers | Pedro Alvarez | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | Ronnie Belliard | Ryan Church | Stephen Strasburg | Tampa Bay Rays | Washington Nationals
Some links for your Friday…
- Tom Verducci of SI.com said on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show that he expects Carl Crawford to sign with the Yankees after the season, because "nobody is going to outbid them." The Yankees and Red Sox both love Crawford, according to Verducci.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Dodgers should spend more aggressively, especially considering they led the league in attendance last year.
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com points out that Mike Lowell, Jason Varitek, Bill Hall and Jeremy Hermida will combine to make only $10MM or so less than the entire Pirates team this year. Why is that noteworthy? All four Red Sox are expected to be bench players.
- Cubs GM Jim Hendry is under contract through 2012, but he tells ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick that he knows "these jobs aren't forever."
- The Pirates say Pedro Alvarez needs seasoning above AA, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Sending the third baseman to the minors limits his MLB service time, so it's a sound financial decision by the Pirates.
- The A's haven't called Joe Beimel, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The A's worked out Wagner Mateo on Tuesday, according to Slusser.
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney thinks that the Joe Mauer contract negotiations, which remain cordial, could continue in a few months if the sides don’t reach a deal in Spring Training.
- The Dominican prospect already worked out for the D'Backs and will likely work out for the Indians.
- Twins minor league director Jim Rantz told Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that another Dominican prospect, Miguel Sano, has "tremendous upside." Kovacevic says it's still too early to know how much the Pirates missed out on when Sano signed with the Twins instead of the Pirates.
- Phillies prospect Phillippe Aumont tells Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun that he thought he was heading to the Blue Jays at one point this offseason.
- Carl Crawford tells Tyler Kepner of the New York Times that he's comfortable with the speculation about his future since it "comes with the territory." Crawford is a free agent after the season.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Boston Red Sox | Carl Crawford | Chicago Cubs | Joe Beimel | Joe Mauer | Los Angeles Dodgers | Miguel Sano | Minnesota Twins | New York Yankees | Oakland Athletics | Pedro Alvarez | Philadelphia Phillies | Phillippe Aumont | Pittsburgh Pirates | Tampa Bay Rays | Wagner Mateo